JOVM chats with Detroit-based emerging synth pop artist Phaserland about his new single “Flip The Switch” and its accompanying video.
Jude Woodhead is a London-based electronic music producer and electronic music artist, who emerged into the national scene with release of his first two singles “Beautiful Rain” and “For The Birds,” both of which revealed a young, upstart producer whose sound was compared favorably to the likes of Floating Points, Four Tet, Joy Orbison, and RJD2. But since the release of those two earlier singles, Woodhead started a new recording project Saint Jude, which was partially inspired by the tinnitus he developed while spending his formative years as a DJ and club-goer. And as a result, Woodhead turned from the euphoria and strobe light of the dance floor and towards the bedroom, where he began working on much more intimate material.
Woodhead’s forthcoming, self-titled Saint Jude debut is a decided sonic evolution that finds the up-and-coming British producer moving from the loop-heavy EDM-styled production for a sound that may recall Caribou and others — propulsive rhythms paired with shimmering guitar lines. The EP’s first single “Deaf Ears, Blind Years” is centered around hushed, reverb-drenched vocals ethereally floating over a lush and moody production featuring shimmering guitars, twinkling keys, four-on-the-floor like beats — and while recalling Paracosm-era Washed Out, the track evokes an aching nostalgia for a rapidly-passing youth full of excitement and waywardness. In press notes, Woodhead describes the song as “a bit of breakthrough for me in terms of songwriting: I was writing about real stuff rather than abstract ideas.”
Deriving its name from the Trollhattan, Sweden kindergarten, where its somewhat mysterious creative mastermind attended as a boy, the up-and-coming indie recording project lodet specializes in breezy, 70s AM rock inspired pop melodies as you’ll hear on its debut single “Calling.” Centered around four-on-the-floor drumming, shimmering guitar chords, plaintive vocals and a soaring hook, the song sonically bears an uncanny resemblance to Paracosm-era Washed Out but with a rickety, analog feel that emphasizes the song’s swooning nature.
Raised in the Atlanta suburbs by Chinese immigrants, the Los Angeles-based electro pop producer, multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter Kenny Zhao studied classical piano and composition before he relocated to Southern California. Largely inspired by M83, Charlift, RHYE, Miguel, Washed Out, and Gorillaz, Zhao through his solo recording project, the aptly named Zhao had a breakthrough year last year, with tracks landing on Spotify‘s “Fresh Finds” and “Summer Heat” playlists, eventually reaching #9 on the Hype Machine charts. Adding to a growing profile, Zhao has contributed vocals on tracks by Eric Sharp, Armand Van Helden and Black Coffee — and he’s played at a number of venues across the Los Angeles area, including The Moroccan Lounge, The Satellite and at LA Chinatown’s Lunar New Year Festival. And while his sound is evolving, he has generally taken a dance floor friendly path.
Building upon a growing profile, Zhao’s latest single is the summery “Feeling Today” will further cement his developing reputation for crafting breezy and funky synth pop, as the track is centered around a sinuous bass line, twinkling keys, shimmering and arpeggiated synths and Zhao’s sultry and soulful vocals. Sonically, the song is a slick amalgamation of 90s neo soul and 80s synth funk that manages to nod at some of Zhao’s influences; but thematically, the song touches upon treating every situation in life as valuable and necessary and putting aside fears of being taken advantage of and processing the idea that all people deserve love. That’s the message – that kindness will set you free. That resentment and fear put you in a cage, and the solution is to forgive yourself, forgive others and move on. There’s also an element of reassuring myself that whatever happens, the best thing I can do is operate within what I can control – honing my craft, and checking in with people I care about”, explains the Zhao. “I’ve always viewed my songwriting process like a form of self-psychoanalysis…like finding out what I’ve really been thinking about.”
Over the past couple of months, I’ve written a bit about Liam Brown, an up-and-coming Liverpool, UK-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and electro pop artist, best known as Pizzagirl. Now, as you may recall, with the release of his debut EP An Extended Play earlier this year, Brown was quickly championed by Huw Stephens, Annie Mac and Lauren Laverne, and received praise from DIY, Highsnobiety, Wonderland, The Line of Best Fit and others for an 80s synth pop inspired sound. And adding to a growing profile, Brown opened for acclaimed British act Her’s during their most recent UK tour.
Building upon a growing profile and growing buzz, Brown’s sophomore Pizzagirl EP season 2 is slated for a November 2 release, and from the EP’s first two singles “highschool” and “gymnasium,” Brown will further cement a reputation for crafting swooningly heartfelt, shimmering synth pop that draws from several decades simultaneously; in fact, both singles brought the likes of Washed Out, St. Lucia and Tears for Fears to mind. “body part,” the EP’s latest single while clearly bearing an uncanny resemblance to its predecessor, the song finds Brown successfully walking a difficult tightrope of an oversized, larger-than-life cinematic feel with an emotional intimacy that continues to evoke the very urgent emotions and thoughts of being a teenager in love.
Danny Murcia is a Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter, founding member and creative mastermind of Los Angeles-based bilingual indie rock act El Mañana. As an English major in college, Murcia immersed himself in magical realism, a major tenet of modernist and post-modernist Latin American literature, and after graduating, he was able to marry his loves for language and music as a songwriter. Interestingly, the Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter wound up penning a number of songs that were recorded by mainstream radio and as a result of the attention he received as a go-to songwriter, Murcia wound up as part of the major label system, signing a record deal with a major label that released a single; however, it didn’t take long for Murcia to to realize that he was a commodity in a machine that wanted to exploit his Colombian heritage — and that the label was actively trying to mold him into a white person’s version of a Latino pop star. At the end of the experience, he felt as though is creative energy was sapped.
El Mañana finds Murcia returning to his original dream of what he wanted his sound and music to be: insightful, earnestly emotional and bilingual rock driven by enormous power chords and plaintive vocals. As the story goes, Murcia who suffers from bipolar disorder began writing material for this new project while he was battling cancer, having to undergo multiple surgeries before the cancer went into remission. During his recovery, he read the works of Pablo Neruda and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, which long informed his own work.
“Gota En El Mar,” the Los Angeles-based band’s latest single sonically manages to bridge the dreamy psych pop of Tame Impala and Washed Out with enormous Siamese Dream Smashing Pumpkins-era like power chords fed through distortion and other effects pedals, thumping drumming and arena rock friendly hooks — but most importantly, the song is a swooningly urgent and earnest song.
Over the past few months, I’ve written a bit about the Viersen, Germany-born, Cologne, Germany-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, electronic music artist and electronic music producer, Marius Lauber, who writes, records and performs Roosevelt. Now, as you may recall its the release of Elliot,” the lead single and EP title track of his 2013 debut EP Elliot, Lauber received praise from the likes of Pitchfork, who named the track one of their “Best New Tracks.” 2015 saw the release of the double A side single “Night Moves”/”Hold On,” which was released through Greco-Roman Records and further cemented his reputation for crafting material with warm, synth-led Euro-disco sound. Building upon a growing profile, Lauber’s 2016 full-length debut featured standout tracks “Colours” and “Moving On,” and has led to attention-grabbing tours with the likes of Hot Chip, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, Crystal Fighters, as well a remixes of singles by Glass Animals, Jax Jones,Truls, Sundara Karma, Luca Vasta and Kakkmaddafakka and others.
Building upon a growing international profile, Lauber’s recently released sophomore Roosevelt album Young Romance finds the acclaimed German singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, electronic music artist and electronic music producer making a decided move away from the slickly produced EDM of his previously released material to a warmer, hook-driven, guitar and synth-based sound, complete with a wistful escapism. Thematically, Young Romance fittingly focuses on — well, young romance, including the trials, tribulations and frustrations of falling in and out of love, and of desperately trying to find some semblance of home and life while on the road. As Lauber says of the writing process for the album “I ended up processing a lot of emotions that I felt during my youth. Faded relationships that haunted me for years, being on the road for what seemed like forever and the constant search for a place to call home.”
Album single “Forgive,” featured Lauber collaborating with Ernest Green, a.k.a. Washed Out, who contributes his ethereal and imitable vocals to a shimmering, disco-like production centered by a Chic-era Nile Rodgers groove, African percussion and an infectious hook that sounds as though it could have been a Paracosm B-side. “Shadows,” continues in a similar, breezy yet disco-inspired vein, as it’s centered around a buoyant two-step friendly groove, arpeggiated synths, Lauber’s plaintive vocals, an incredibly tight, infectious hook that recalls Miami Horror, Washed Out and Random Access Memories-era Daft Punk to mind — but somehow even lighter. Young Romance’s latest single “Under The Sun” will further cement Lauber’s reputation for crafting hook-laden, and breezy pop centered around the German singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer’s yearning vocals, thumping beats, a sinuous disco-inspired bass line, twinkling keys and ethereal electronics — and while continuing to nod at the likes of Miami Horror, Washed Out, Random Access Memories-era Daft Punk and St. Lucia, the song much like its predecessor reveals an ambitious songwriter and producer, who has put a unique and urgent take on a familiar and beloved sound.
The recently released video for “Under The Sun” is a cinematic and fittingly nostalgic visual that features Lauber yearning singing the song and playing guitar on the beach, reflecting on a past relationship.
Earlier this month, I wrote about Liam Brown, an up-and-coming Liverpool, UK-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and electro pop artist, best known as Pizzagirl, and with the release of his debut EP An Extended Play earlier this year, Brown was championed by the likes of Huw Stephens, Annie Mac and Lauren Laverne, and received praise from DIY, Highsnobiety, Wonderland, The Line of Best Fit and others for an 80s synth pop inspired sound. And adding to a growing profile, Brown opened for acclaimed British act Her’s during their most recent UK tour.
Building upon the growing buzz surrounding him, Brown’s sophomore Pizzagirl effort season 2 is slated for a November release, and as you may recall EP single “highschool” was an achingly wistful and pensive synth pop track centered around arpeggiated synths, thumping beats and a sinuous hook that immediately brought Washed Out, St. Lucia and classic 80s synth pop to mind. “gymnasium,” season 2‘s latest single continues on a similar vein — swooningly heartfelt and oversized teenaged sentiment paired with a breezy yet decidedly DIY production featuring twinkling keys, thumping beats, Brown’s plaintive vocals, a Tears for Fears-like bridge and incredibly infectious hooks. Just as important, Brown manages to accurately capture and evoke what it feels like to be a high schooler and desperately in love.
Marius Lauber is a Viersen, Germany-born, Cologne, Germany-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, electronic music artist and electronic music producer, who writes records and performs with his solo recording project Roosevelt. Now as you may recall, with the […]